Lawmakers To Look Into Trump’s Refusal To Rebuke Saudi Crown Prince Over Khashoggi Killing

U.S. President Donald Trump returning to the White House
Tasos Katopodis-Pool / Getty Images

Almost two months ago, the world was rocked by the sudden disappearance of dissident Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi after he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. In the weeks that followed, the Saudi Arabian government changed their stance on the disappearance multiple times, first feigning innocence, then calling it a “rogue assassination,” and then confessing to the murder but calling it an accident.

In the meantime, world leaders from all over condemned the brutal murder of the Washington Post columnist, who held U.S. residency. That is, everyone but U.S. President Donald Trump himself. And it seems that this is the straw that broke the camel’s back for American lawmakers, according to USA Today.

After turning a blind eye to Trump’s trade war with everyone from Canada to Mexico to Germany, his highly public social media fights with age-old U.S. allies and embracing the world’s most infamous dictators, lawmakers have finally reached a point where they are willing to intervene in Trump’s foreign policy.

The murder of Khashoggi has infuriated both Democrats and Republicans alike, with politicians across the U.S. condemning the brutal killing. With the House flipped in favor of the Democrats come January, it seems that the president may be in the hot seat “as early as next week.”

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tennessee, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has already requested a classified briefing from top officials within the White House on the murder and the support the U.S. continues to offer Saudi Arabia as they wage their war in Yemen. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis are on the list of people Corker has requested an audience with.

That conversation is expected to put the two in the spotlight, with lawmakers preparing to ask questions about the CIA’s reported discovery of a recording of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordering the murder of the journalist on October 2. While it was widely speculated even before the alleged discovery that the de facto Saudi leader was responsible, Trump’s response was to instead question the integrity of the CIA and their findings. According to Trump, the fact that the prince has denied any involvement makes him innocent.

The president further stated that Salman “regrets the death more than [Trump] does,” and argued there was “no conclusive evidence” to point the finger at him.

“The CIA doesn’t say they did it. They do point out certain things, and in pointing out those things, you can conclude that maybe he did or maybe he didn’t,” Trump said from Mar-A-Lago.

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-California, has stated that the House has every intention of delving deeply into the available information on Khashoggi’s killing.

“Certainly we will be delving further into the murder of Khashoggi, and I want to make sure that the committee is fully debriefed on it,” Schiff said. “We will certainly want to examine what the intelligence community knows about the murder.”

And Rep. Eliot Engel, D-New York, added that Trump’s reaction to the murder of a journalist is unacceptable.

“When the United States is leading on the global stage, we can apply the sort of pressure that advances our values. Instead, the president is acting as though the United States is dependent on Saudi Arabia and not the other way around.”